Meadworks adds music to the menu in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Preach Freedom (center), a former member of the acclaimed band Rusted Root, performed in Medina on Saturday night at the beegarten. Freedom was joined by Marla Harris and Steve Davis at the concert in Medina.

That venue is in an open-air courtyard in the back of the R.N. Newell shirt factory building at 111 West Center St. The site the previous three years welcomed musicians as the Boiler 54.

The former Boiler 54 performance venue is now “the beegarten.”

It looked like there wasn’t going to be music at the spot this year, until 810 Meadworks owners Bryan and Larissa DeGraw pushed to keep the space open for the season.

“This space is unbelievably unique and to let it sit here and not be used was very frustrating to me,” Mr. DeGraw said. “People in years past who did the work to make the space what it is I just feel blessed to use it.”

Preach Freedom and Connect perform at the beegarten.

For more on the band Preach Freedom and Connect, visit Freedom is singing, “No Woman, No Cry,” a reggae song originally by Bob Marley.

Thom Jennings of Albion put together the concert series, drawing on his contacts and musician friends. Jennings reviews concerts for The Niagara Gazette and also has promoted and organized concert series.

His son, Thom Jennings Jr., met Preach Freedom at a concert a few years ago and gave him a ride to Freedom’s home in Buffalo. Preach has stayed in contact with the Jennings family. During a Rusted Root concert in North Tonawanda in August 2013, Freedom welcomed Thom Jr.’s brother Trevor to the stage to play the drums in an encore with the band.

Preach Freedom and Connect perform in downtown Medina.

The lineup of musicians at the beegarten includes Eliot Lewis on July 22. He is the keyboardist for Hall & Oates. The series continues every Saturday evening until Aug. 15.

DeGraw and his wife own 810 Meadworks. They will produce meads, which are alcoholic drinks made by fermenting honey with water and often fruits, spices, grains and hops.

DeGraw hoped by continuing the concert series he could introduce more people to mead, and he said that has been working.

“I feel like we’re part of Medina and entertaining Medina,” DeGraw said. “We want people to feel at home here and decompress from life.”

To see the concert lineup, click here.

Marla Harris sings to the crowd at the beegarten.